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Agritechnica: Discussions on the pending land market reform in Ukraine

20 November 2019 - On 12th November 2019, the German-Ukrainian Agricultural Policy Dialogue (APD), together with DLG e.V., the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO) and VDMA Agricultural Machinery, organised a discussion event on the prospects and reforms in the Ukrainian agricultural sector at Agritechnica in Hanover. The discussions focused on the planned liberalisation of the agricultural land market. Around 70 participants attended the event.

In his welcome address, Volker Sasse, Head of APD, stressed the successes of the development of the Ukrainian agricultural sector and the existing potential for expanding processing capacities. For this, stable political framework conditions, transparency and trust in administration and legislation are expected prerequisites. Frank Rittner of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture reported on the German experience in the privatisation of agriculture and underlined the importance of a cautious approach in organising reform processes. Reinhard Grandke, Managing Director of DLG e.V., emphasised the role of innovation in the development of the Ukrainian agricultural sector. Franziska Schaft, IAMO, referred to the importance of a functioning land market and the role of the intention of the new Ukrainian government to lift the moratorium on agricultural land sales. The possibility of selling land benefits the rural population and could in the future also facilitate access to credit for smaller Ukrainian agricultural producers with land ownership.

Inna Meteleva, Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture, explained in her opening statement that the planned land reform was flanked by a whole bundle of various legislative initiatives and organisational measures. These included, for example, activities to complete the land register, the initiation of dialogue platforms or the establishment of advisory centres for farmers. In his presentation, Alexander Haus (International Projects, VDMA Agricultural Machinery) referred to the importance of Ukraine for agricultural machinery manufacturers. In his opinion, the reform intentions will have a lasting influence on investments in and the application of modern agricultural technology.

Chaired by Christoph Gilgen (Project Manager of the Land Dialogue at APD), Inna Meteleva (Ministry for Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture), Andreas Tietz (Thünen Institute of Rural Studies), Andrey Koshyl (Land Union of Ukraine), Taras Gagalyuk (IAMO) and Per Brodersen (German Agribusiness Alliance) discussed the current reform efforts in Ukraine and in particular the planned liberalisation of the land market. For example, the importance of expanding the land register was once again emphasized. It was also pointed out that the continuation of the tax reform was an important complementary measure in order to establish a fair distribution of the tax burden between the various market players in Ukrainian agriculture. This would also have a long-term impact on equal access to the land market. In addition, the results of an ongoing IAMO study on the willingness to purchase and sell agricultural land, carried out in cooperation with scientists from the Ukrainian University of Zhytomyr, were also addressed. Especially high-income and low-income landowners showed a particularly high willingness to sell during the survey.